Why the United Nations Needs to Go Creative Commons

With the rise of social publishing, the United Nations need to lead by going Creative Commons license for all of their publications. You know that the UN has published thousands of world class publication for everyone. These publications are available for free for anyone with online access. Yup, free access.

However, they’re missing the boat by locking most of their publications into Copyright situation. Case in point, this publication on “Kick the Habit,” a comprehensive guide to climate neutrality for everyone – yes, everyone from individuals to organizations to cities, governments, SMEs (small-medium enterprises) and corporations – pretty much cover all of us who uses energy. However, this guide is not easily accessible for anyone unless it gets to the hands of influencers, who can then help spread out the message around via different medium like Twitter, Facebook, social publishing, etc. you name it. 

I almost got kicked out from Scribd (a social publishing) this morning, because I wanted to share (read: non-profit, non-commercial) this Kick-the-Habit publication (pdf) online so people can access it, read it and get educated on the issue of going carbon neutral. 

Here is the email I received from Scribd this morning.

Hello, DewitaSoeharjono —

We have removed your document “Kick the Habit” (id: 40082915) because our text matching system determined that it was very similar to a work that has been marked as copyrighted and not permitted on Scribd.

Like all automated matching systems, our system is not perfect and occasionally makes mistakes. If you believe that your document is not infringing, please contact us at copyright@scribd.com and we will investigate the matter.

As stated in our terms of use, repeated incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your Scribd.com account and prohibit you from uploading material to Scribd.com in the future. To prevent us from having to take these steps, please delete from scribd.com any material you have uploaded to which you do not own the necessary rights and refrain from uploading any material you are not entitled to upload. For more information about Scribd.com’s copyright policy, please read the Terms of Use located at http://www.scribd.com/terms.

Best regards, Scribd Support Team Questions? http://scribd.com/faq

This is the UN COPYRIGHT. 

Un_copyright

So the way I understand it, it IS okay if you made copies for non-profit distributions. But it’s NOT okay for online distributions. Interesting…

Digital vs. hard copy influence

Want more people to read? A quick math on Scribd: 60 million readers every month, 20 million embeds, millions of people readcast (read and let people know what they’re reading). Plus it can get downloaded by IPad, Kindle, and some other e-reader gadgets. It’s about distribution. That stats versus printing 200-some pages! Why waste papers these days if you don’t need to? Hellooooo? There’s more upside potential, i.e. more people read, online. That’s the fact.

Creative Commons is about democratizing publishing and access. Look, I am not using it for commercial purposes. My intention is to share worthwhile reading materials with others. You think after this I’m going to upload UN stuff. No way, baby. It’s not worth the risk. Because I still want to share the world with more reading stuff going forward

By the way, the UN is not alone in this case. There are other organizations have the same attitude on copyright thing. I know I singled out them (sorry about that) because they have many more organizations under their wings. If they lead, others will follow.  

I just hope some UN officials in New York, or elsewhere in the world, pay attention to the implications of online culture on sharing. Sharing is social. Social means less restrictions.

Nuff said. Let’s unlock the potential…

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Author: Dewita

Co-founder Ecotwist Labs.

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